Everett Panhandling Battle Continues

October 21, 2015

Everett, Everett Government

Editor’s note: Here is the revised Aggressive Panhandling ordinance that is causing big debate in Everett.

Panhandling CB 1509-40

At its weekly meeting the Everett City Council Wednesday night heard from citizens who want more action taken against those causing problems on Everett’s streets as well as from those claiming the city is trying to criminalize being homeless.

At issue are revisions to the city’s current aggressive panhandling ordinance. Those include specific definitions to begging, defining aggressive panhandling as “by words or actions, begs with intent to intimidate another person” and defining when someone hinders or obstructs another as: “Hinder or obstruct” means to walk, stand, sit or lie in such a manner as to block or attempt to block or restrict passage by others or to require persons approaching to take evasive action to avoid physical contact.

The city has dropped language first presented two weeks ago that said people could not beg within 50 feet of an ATM, could not ask for money after sunset or before sunrise and could not ask a second time for a donation once someone said no.

During public comment at the city council meeting the Rev. Bill Kirlin-Hackett told the council that its actions were making it criminal to be homeless in Everett and that the ACLU would likely be challenging the city’s revised ordinance.

Citizen Gary Watt, who owns Z-Sport just north of the Everett Gospel Mission and who has been documenting conditions in the area, told the council the problems are worse than they’ve ever been and warned against the ACLU trying to intimidate the city.

Councilmember Brenda Stonecipher called for this to be the first reading of the ordinance which would have moved the public hearing and full council vote to the first week of November. Her motion was defeated 4 -3 which sets the stage for the public’s last chance to speak on the ordinance next Wednesday afternoon at 12:30 PM with a council vote to follow.

Both councilmembers Murphy and Moore spoke to how the city was not trying to make it a crime to be homeless in Everett.

, ,

About myeverettnews

My Everett News is a hyperlocal news website featuring breaking news and events in Everett, WA. We also cover City of Everett information and items of interest to those who live and work in Everett. It's written by Leland Dart a former Snohomish County based radio reporter born and raised in Everett.

View all posts by myeverettnews

11 Responses to “Everett Panhandling Battle Continues”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Don’t let homeless or anything like this happen to you ! It could happen to you!!!

    • nope Says:

      Won’t happen if I don’t stick a needle in my vein. using drugs is a choice. people that are truly homeless have resources they can use.

    • Robert Says:

      Doubt it… you don’t just wake up homeless. It’s usually a series of bad decisions. The chronically homeless owe it to drugs and that is a choice.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    I WANT HIM BACK ! HELP PLEASE !!! I know he is still there the drug’s got to go l can and do try and fight I’m not going to stop! I love him!!!

    • Compassionate Says:

      Please come to the county council meeting on the budget and ask them to spend money on treatment for these addicts who are sick not bad.

  3. Niki Says:

    I have watched the two guys that swap shifts at 41st and Colby literally fall down in the street drunk. Fall down onto stopped cars as they are crossing the street. And what lights me up the most is the same two were passed out at the end of my street, one in the road and the other on the sidewalk. It’s not homelessness that is the problem, it’s the substance abuse and public intoxication. Being homeless is not a crime and if you are standing on your street corner, with your sign, doing your thing, whatever; but when you are falling down drunk, damaging my property or puking in my neighbors yard, (yes this happened) I’m calling the cops. I’m sick and tired of it! If someone tells them to move along, they get verbally attacked, flipped off, and threatened. This is our home! I not only pay taxes but I try my best to be actively involved in my community. We are being ran out of our neighborhood by the transients and squatters. We started a block watch but what good does it do to call the police and they show up 2 hours later?

    • Anonymous Says:

      And if for some reason why it was you? My son is one of them! He was so good growing up!! The drug’s got him now ! I miss him !

    • nope Says:

      I agree. The police are completely inept. Then if you defend yourself and your property, somehow you are the criminal.

    • Compassionate Says:

      Yes and the taxes you pay are being wasted by city and county officials trying to police their way out of this drug and alcohol problem. People addicted to drugs and alcohol are SICK and they need treatment, NOT locked up so they can go back out and still be sick. Spending time in jail does NOT treat these people and rehabilitate them, it does NOT work. Taxpayers are spending 75% of the county budget on criminal issues and the drug and alcohol problem is worse than ever!!

      I went to the county budget meeting and no one from the public even showed up to try and persuade the county council to spend money on treatment. They are in so much denial and so entrenched on making the drug/alcohol problem criminal. If tobacco addicts get cancer and we lock them up, don’t they still have the cancer when they get out, unless they receive chemo in jail?

      Please come to the next county budget meeting at the beginning of November and use your voice to convince these guys to spend money on something that will actually HELP the problem.

  4. angry Says:

    I am so disappointed in city leadership for letting this problem escalate to the point that it has. For those who are truly in need, there are plenty of services they can seek. The people who hang out around the Gospel/Brown Bear/Bus Depot are junkies in their mid 20s to early 30s looking for a buck or 2 for their next hit. I find it extremely hard to sympathize with these people. No one told you to put that needle in your vein, and now because you have a habit to support, you resort to stealing my crap from my lawn, breaking in to my car, and generally making me uncomfortable in the city I call home. I will stress again: for the people that REALLY need help, the services are there and they more often than not seek them.

    The city is not trying to criminalize homelessness. The ACLU needs to back off. It seems that they would rather criminalize giving a crap about your property value and appearance of your city.

    • Compassionate Says:

      Dear Angry,

      While I am not at all pleased with our city and don’t agree with them on almost everything, may I offer another perspective?

      I’m sure you must be frustrated by the behavior of these folks who are addicted, but please remember not all of them did this to themselves. Sometimes a friend, boyfriend/girlfriend stuck the needle in them and they became instantly addicted.

      The brain of an addict tells them they have to have the drug or they won’t survive. Once they become addicted, the drug doesn’t make them feel good anymore, it keeps them from being sick. There are no drug treatment facilities in Everett unless these people have lots of money.

      Addicts are not bad people needing to become good, they are sick people needing to be healed. I’ve been trying to convince city and county government that we need treatment facilities not more jail time. Putting addicts in jail for either doing the drug, or property crimes to get the drug, only wastes taxpayer money because they are not getting treated, they are being punished and shamed for their addiction. The more we shame them, the sicker they get.

      The county is currently wasting 73% of the county budget on jails, courts, and cops, and our drug problem/homeless problem is worse than ever!! I just spent an afternoon calling around in the city to see what is available for addicts who don’t have any family or anyone who cares enough about them to help them get better. The city and county spends nothing on treating these folks and as soon as they get out of jail, they are still sick and go right back to the same behavior.

      The county and city officials are in denial even though more and more of the budget is getting eaten up from trying to police their way out of this problem. If they don’t wake up and get these sick people into treatment, these addicts are going to be draining ALL the city and county funds, either through ER room visits, court costs, sheriff and police as well as jail time. Taxpayers are having to allow these leaders to throw money down this rabbit hole while our property is being stolen and destroyed. They don’t care because apparently they haven’t experienced these sick desperate people around their homes yet. We as citizens, need to petition the government to spend money on treatment for these sick people, because what they are doing is NOT working.